Synchronous Technology In Solid Edge ST3 – Part 1

Siemens PLM has finally released Solid Edge ST3 today. The big news in this release, as Siemens PLM puts it, is the fulfillment of the vision of Synchronous Technology. And I agree with that. When they released Solid Edge with Synchronous Technology in 2008 the company claimed that they were offering users the best of both worlds – history based parametric modeling and direct modeling. They even went ahead and claimed 100x increase in productivity or something to that effect.

To be fair, yes they did offer both methodologies of modeling. But it was either this or that. You could either model a part using history based parametric modeling or using direct modeling. You couldn’t use both methods in the same part or assembly. This limitation continued to exist in ST2. But things have now changed in ST3. You can now use history based parametric modeling as well as direct modeling on the same part. This is something I believe that has the potential to result in a significant increase in productivity. It may not be 100x. But this new capability of mixed modeling is actually getting the best of both worlds, in the true sense of the term. And this is what Siemens PLM means when they say that Solid Edge ST3 has fulfilled the vision of Synchronous Technology.

In this series I will attempt to explain the concepts behind Synchronous Technology as best as I can. For the benefit of those new to Synchronous Technology I will explain briefly what it is and how it differs from the traditional history based feature modeling. I believe complicated concepts are best explained by simple examples. Elsewhere you will probably read reviews of Solid Edge ST3 explaining what’s new in this version. You will also see videos of Solid Edge ST3 doing some fancy stuff. While those videos may help you understand what Solid Edge ST3 is capable of doing, you may or may not be able to understand what is really going on in the software, and why.

The purpose of this series is to explain the concepts behind Synchronous Technology. Keeping this in mind I will proceed to explain the new features in ST3 with a very simple example mainly designed to help you get a grasp of the concept of having a history based features and non-history based features in the same feature tree. You will also learn how to move features from the history based part of the tree to the non-history based part of the tree. Yes, you can do that. However, you cannot to the reverse in ST3. Actually the reverse is something close to what Autodesk is trying to achieve with Fusion. But that is another story.

Part 2 >>